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Docudays UA festival announced winners

The Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival announced this year’s winners. Mstyslav Chernov with his film ‘20 Days In Mariupol’ won in the DOCU/Ukraine National Feature-Length Competition. The film was also awarded the Audience Award

Igor Ivanko received a special distinction in the DOCU/Ukraine Jury Competition for his film ‘Fragile Memory’. He dedicated this work to his grandfather, the famous Soviet and Ukrainian cinematographer Leonid Burlaka. Throughout the film, Igor examines his grandfather’s damaged photo archive found at his dacha and tries to find out what he was like before Alzheimer’s disease took away Leonid’s ability to recognize his grandson.

Ivanko also won the Students Jury Award.


The main prize of the DOCU/WORLD competition went to Alisa Kovalenko’s work ‘We Will Not Fade Away’, a story about the everyday life of five teenagers in the Luhansk region since 2019. There is heavy fighting in the vicinity of their village, and they dream of leaving here to discover new perspectives. From an attempt to become Ukraine’s Elon Musk and an acting career to a dream to conquer the Himalayas — not all fantasies were destined to come true, but the guys managed to realize one of them.

The DOCU/WORLD jury gave a special mention to Afghan filmmaker Abbas Rezaie’s ‘The Etilaat Roz’. The film was shot at the office of Kabul’s most popular newspaper, The Etilaat Roz, and it is a first-hand account of the 2021 takeover of Kabul by the Taliban. Rezaie was a staff member at the time, so he was able to show the newspaper from the inside — before, during and after the takeover, when journalists had to choose between their work and their families’ safety.

‘We have decided to give a special mention to a film that delivers a very direct and universal message: that there is no democratic future for societies without free journalism’, the DOCU/World jury noted.

The German-Ukrainian film by directors Mila Zhluktenko and Daniel Asadi Faezi, ‘waking up in silence’, won the main prize in the DOCU/SHORT national competition of short documentaries. This is the story of a German camp for refugees from Ukraine, located in a former military barracks of the Wehrmacht.

A special DOCU/SHORT award went to Ukrainian filmmaker Oleksiy Radynski for his film ‘Chornobyl 22’. ‘Chornobyl 22’ consists of footage shot on a mobile phone and eyewitness accounts. The authors of the film talked to Oleksii Shelestii, ChNPP Shift Supervisor of electric workshop, Valerii Semenov, leading engineer of the physical protection service, Liudmyla Kozak, Serhii Dediukhin, Vitalii Popov, Petro Lazarenko, ChNPP security service worker, and Valentyn Heiko, shift supervisor.

The RIGHTS NOW! main prize was awarded to filmmaker Roman Liubyi for his film ‘Iron Butterflies’. It is a multi-level study of MH17 in the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region on July 17, 2014 through the demonstration of testimonies, trials of russian occupiers, russian propaganda, animation, and art performance.

The film is so called because of the butterfly-shaped shrapnel found in the pilot’s body implicated the state responsible for a war crime that remains unpunished.

The Rights Now! special mention went to American filmmaker Matt Sarnecki for ‘The Killing of a Journalist’, a film about the investigation of the murder of Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kušnírová. It describes in detail the work of fellow journalists, who have collected 70 terabytes of data and are dedicated to their analysis and search for the truth.

The main prize named after Andriy Matrosov, producer of the Docudays UA festival, who died in a car accident on February 16, 2010, was awarded to Ukrainian filmmaker Alina Maksimenko for her film‘Ptitsa’.

This story takes place during a pandemic in a family of two women, a mother and her adult daughter. In one part of the house is the mother’s music school, where she teaches classes online. She is a piano teacher, a strong and organized woman who communicates only with her students and pupils, so there are always many children around her. In the second part of the house is her daughter’s painting studio. These two worlds rarely interact with each other, forming a metaphor of human loneliness. However, the characters are united by the story of the death of Katya, the daughter of their friend Inna.

A special mention was given to filmmaker Daryna Mamaisur for her work ‘I Stumble Every Time I Hear From Kyiv’. The full-scale russian invasion of Ukraine caught her in Brussels while she was studying. In the spring of 2022, when chestnuts were in bloom in Brussels and her native Kyiv, Mamaisur began work on a film based on conversations and videos she exchanged with her friend who was in Kyiv.

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